Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership in Agriculture
Agriculture is one of the main areas of concern in the ongoing negotiations between the EU and US on Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. In fact, there are quite a number of issues relating to agriculture that the pact between the two economic strongholds aim to tackle. The agreement aims at removing all obstacles that have over the years caused hitches in the US agricultural exports to the European Union. The reason for this is because US agricultural producers mainly depend on exports, which currently accounts for about 20% of their total income generated from farm produce.
Today, the United States of America face increased global competition in exporting its agricultural products to EU partly because the European Union has been able to aggressively form preferential trade agreements with other nations. In fact, the US market share in the European Union has been able to significantly fall, causing panic among US farmers. For instance, between 2000 and 2013, the US agricultural products’ market share in the EU fell from 15% to a struggling 9%.
The element of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership about agriculture is to ensure that all EU import duties and tariff rate quotas are eliminated. If this is done, there will no longer be dumping of any food and agricultural products once the tariffs imposed on them reach zero.
There are quite a number of agricultural issues that have been raised by the US to the EU that need to be addressed in the on-going negotiations. One of them is that the US is of the idea that the European Union should begin treating its meat products with chemicals so as to eliminate bacteria. The US proposes that chlorine should be used for poultry while other meats like pork should be treated using organic acids.
In the negotiations, the European Union is considering the placement of restrictions on meat and dairy products from offspring cloned animals. However, the US is not in full support of this and does not approve of any such restrictions. It is argued that neither of the two parties (EU and US) have a tracking mechanism of cloned animals, thus, the rule would not be easier to implement. This is one of the key areas that the negotiations are expected to touch on with regards to agriculture.
In the ongoing negotiations, it is also expected that the two parties will be able to tackle the issue of non-tariff barriers to the United States agricultural products. There have been long delays in reviews of biotech products, which have led to barriers to United States’ grain and oilseeds exports. Besides, there have also been complex and tiresome certification requirements that prevent access for many US processed foods, dairy and animal products.
There are several structural disparities in the regulatory systems of the two economies with regards to food safety and agricultural risk management. These challenges in agriculture are what the negotiations need to tactfully settle in order to unlock the economic potential of the two economies.
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